The “Walk of Kisses”
Paola Arbocò, Pierluigi Feltri, Maurizio Vallino | UNA2 architetti associati
The Passeggiata dei Baci (literally “Walk of Kisses”), a historic walking trail in the Liguria region which runs from the bay of Paraggi to St. Martin’s Church in Portofino, recently underwent an upgrade with the aim of renewing some of its key features and improving its visibility for tourists and visitors. In particular, the project focused on some sections of the paving and the three main access gateways: Porta di Ponente (“West Gateway”), which marks the beginning of the route and uses a pictorial bell tower motif as a compositional pattern; Porta di Niasca (“Niasca Gateway”), a midway point alongside the provincial road where the green colours of the landscape contrast with the red of the structure; and finally the Porta di Levante (“East Gateway”), near Paraggi beach and an important access point for walkers.
The project, which participated in the Ceramics and Design competition, was the work of Pierluigi Feltri, founder of the firm UNA2 Architetti Associati, together with his colleagues Paola Arbocò and Maurizio Vallino. The materials chosen for the gateways were steel and ceramic, as the architect explains: “The three gateways needed to stand out from the landscape while at the same time referencing the texture of plaster and the changing colours of the surrounding countryside. Unglazed porcelain stoneware has the right colour temperature and tactility for use in this application. The surface covering is bolted to the underlying metal structure, creating a pleasant shadow and depth effect that perfectly fulfils the aims of the project. The other characteristics that led us to choose this material include its colour fastness and reliability as well as the high manufacturing precision guaranteed by mass production.”
After choosing the materials, the architects analysed the iconographic elements of the area and looked at how they could be reproduced on the gateway decorations. “We had identified the decoration of the bell tower of St. Martin’s Church adjacent to the Western Gate as a possible source of inspiration for the project. The recurring theme is a lozenge-shaped motif in brick red and yellow ochre colours, which we chose to recreate in the form of Provenzale collection tiles produced by ETRURIA design in an alternation of pink and ochre. By using the tiles simply to form a pattern without needing to grout the joints, we created a dynamic, lightweight two-sided surface that partly conceals the steel structure and creates a constantly changing play of shadows,” says Pierluigi Feltri.
Porcelain stoneware tiles from ETRURIA design were used in the Provenzale version both for the paving at the start of the trail (chosen in a 15×21 cm size with R11 slip resistance) and for the gateways themselves in the colours Ochre and Pink, with two holes on each piece to enable them to be mounted onto the metal structures.
ETRURIA design, serie Hex provenzale
Water absorpion (ISO 10545-3): conforme
Chemical resistance (ISO 10545-13): conforme
Resistance to deep abrasion (ISO 10545-6): conforme
Stain resistance (ISO 10545-14): conforme
Frost resistance (ISO 10545-12): conforme
Modulus of rupture and breaking strength (ISO 10545-4): conforme
Slip resistance (DIN 51130): conforme